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Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education

  • Aug 20, 2016 - Sep 17, 2016

  • Loeb Drama Center

  • Run Time: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission.

Tickets

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Created, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith
Music composed and performed by Marcus Shelby
Directed by Leonard Foglia

Urgent and inspiring, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education outlines the civil rights crisis currently erupting at the intersection between America’s education system and its mass incarceration epidemic. In act one, Anna Deavere Smith introduces the students, parents, teachers, and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison “pipeline” through her trademark portrait performances.

A leader in national conversations on race and justice, Smith (Fires in the MirrorTwilight: Los Angeles, 1992Let Me Down Easy; “Nurse Jackie”) now asks audiences to talk back. In the tradition of call and response, a second act before a final coda performance invites audiences to reflect on how we might begin to collectively move forward from difficult histories and devastating social policies.

@americanrep   #NotesFromTheField

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Education & Access Initiatives
Cambridge Community Foundation
Grayson Family Foundation
Marcia Head
Panta Rhea Foundation

Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project
Lead support for the Anna Deavere Smith School-to-Prison Pipeline Project is provided by the Ford Foundation. Major support is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Panta Rhea Foundation; The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation; The California Endowment; NoVo Foundation; Open Society Foundations; Poss Family Foundation; and The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund, Suzanne Farver Advised Fund at Aspen Community Foundation, Alexandra & Paul Herzan, Ellen & Bob Peck, Daryl Roth, Jordan Roth & Richie Jackson, Robert & Laura Sillerman, Mr. and Mrs. Robert K. Steel, Michael Margitich, Mike & Jackie Bezos, Jeremy Smith, The Crown Family, David & Susan Rockefeller, Melva Bucksbaum & Raymond Learsy, Cultures of Resistance Network Foundation, Robert J. Caruso & The Kantian Foundation, the Mimi & Peter Haas Fund, Louise Grunwald, Nancy & Morris W. Offit, Roger & Vicki Sant, and several anonymous donors.

Special thanks to the Office of the Provost and the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, New York University. The Pipeline Project is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Need to know

There is no guarantee that standing room will be available for sold-out performances; however, if it becomes available a limited number of standing room tickets may be sold in person for select shows on the day of each show at 12 noon. The number of standing room tickets will not be known in advance of the ticket services office opening at 12PM. Please call our Ticket Services office with any ticket related questions at 617.547.8300. Hours are: Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5PM.

Read more

Inspired by the show to learn more about, or get involved in addressing the issues raised by the play? Visit (and contribute to) this guide to local resources and organizations.

Click here to read the show’s program.

Click here to read more about the show in our fall Guide

Click here to find engaging resources and materials on the school-to-prison pipeline in the Notes from the Field Toolkit.

Click here to learn more about donating a book to Massachusetts Department of Youth Services.

WGBH Interview: In Her New One-Act Play, Anna Deavere Smith Plumbs The ‘School-To-Prison’ Pipeline

Anna Deavere Smith WBUR Interview

Radio Boston Interview with Anna Deavere Smith

Notable dates

Audio Described Dates

Sept. 15, 7:30PM – Sept. 17, 2PM

Open Captioned

Sept. 15, 7:30PM – Sept. 17, 2PM

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Age Appropriateness

Recommended for grades 7 and up.
Prepared middle- and high- school students will be able to engage deeply with themes of incarceration, education, and advocacy. The performance contains occasional strong language and references to drug abuse. Due to the group discussion format of Act 2, teachers are advised to consult the A.R.T.’s online educational resources prior to your visit.

Discussions

RADICAL WELCOMES

Each performance begins with a “radical welcome” offered by a different member of the greater Boston community.  For more information and a list of welcomers, click here.

Production Sponsors
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School
Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University

Production Support
Amy and Ed Brakeman (Umsizi Fund)
Poss Family Foundation
The artistic residency of Anna Deavere Smith is generously supported by Katie and Paul Buttenwieser.

Press

Credits

Creative team

Writer, Performer

Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith Headshot

Writer, Performer

Anna Deavere Smith

A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy, Fires in the Mirror (Pulitzer Prize runner-up). Actress, playwright, and teacher, Anna Deavere Smith is said to have created a new form of theater. She received the National Humanities Medal, presented to her by President Obama in 2013. She was the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow for Theatre Arts (for the development of Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education). She is a MacArthur Fellow, and received The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She is the recipient of two Tony nominations and two Obie Awards. She has created over 15 one-person shows based on hundreds of interviews, most of which deal with social issues. Twilight: Los Angeles, about the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, was performed around the country and on Broadway. Let Me Down Easy (seen at the A.R.T. in 2008) focused on health care in the U.S. In popular culture she has been seen in “Nurse Jackie,” “Black-ish,” “The West Wing,” The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia. Books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines. She has a number of honorary degrees including Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Juilliard, Union Theological Seminary, and The Radcliffe Medal. She sits on the board of trustees for the American Museum of National History, the Aspen Institute, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She is University Professor in the department of Art & Public Policy at New York University. She also directs the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at New York University.

 

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Composer, Performer

Marcus Shelby

Composer, Performer

Marcus Shelby

Composer/Performer

A.R.T.: Debut. Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, arranger, bassist, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco. His work and music have focused on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and early childhood music education. In 1990, Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. From 1990-1996, Shelby was bandleader of Columbia Records Recording Artists Black/ Note. Currently, Shelby is artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. In 2013, Shelby received a MAP Fund Award to compose Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio, an original composition for big band orchestra about the prison industrial complex. In 2015, Shelby was commissioned by Anna Deveare Smith to compose the score for her new play Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education. Shelby also has arranged for Ledisi and the Count Basie Orchestra, recorded with Tom Waits, and received the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area." Shelby teaches at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and in March 2013, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appointed Shelby to the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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Director

Leonard Foglia

Director

Leonard Foglia

Director

A.R.T.: Debut. Leonard Foglia is a theater and opera director and librettist. Original Broadway productions: Master Class with Zoe Caldwell and Audra McDonald (also West End with Patti LuPone, National tour with Faye Dunaway), Thurgood with Laurence Fishburne (filmed for HBO), The People in the Picture with Donna Murphy. Broadway revivals: The Gin Game with James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, On Golden Pond with Mr. Jones, Wait Until Dark with Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei. Off-Broadway: Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy (filmed for PBS), The Stendhal Syndrome with Isabella Rossellini, One Touch of Venus (Encores!), If Memory Serves, Lonely Planet. Regional: Unusual Acts of Devotion, Distracted, Paper Doll, The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, The Subject Was Roses, A Coffin in Egypt, God's Man in Texas. Opera: Foglia directed the world premieres of Moby Dick (filmed for PBS), Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, etc., Everest (Dallas Opera); Cold Mountain (Santa Fe Opera); The End of the Affair (Houston Grand Opera, etc.); Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera). His production of Dead Man Walking has been seen across the country. As a librettist, he wrote (and directed) El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past Is Never Finished, with composer José “Pepe” Martínez, commissioned by and premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago. It has played San Diego Opera and Houston Grand Opera; A Coffin in Egypt with composer Ricky Ian Gordon was commissioned by and premiered at Houston Grand Opera and has played, Opera Philadelphia, Chicago Opera Theater, LA and The American Songbook at Lincoln Center. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon with composer Martínez was commissioned by and premiered at Houston Grand Opera and has played, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

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Set Design

Riccardo Hernandez

Riccardo Hernandez

Set Design

Riccardo Hernandez

A.R.T.: Over twenty productions, including most recently, Jagged Little PillThe White Card, Arrabal, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound, Best of Both Worlds, The Seagull, Julius Caesar, Britannicus, and Marat/Sade. Broadway: Indecent, The Gin Game; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; The People in the Picture; Caroline, or Change, National Theatre London; Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Old Vic; Topdog/Underdog, Royal Court; Bells Are Ringing; Parade (directed by Hal Prince, Tony, Drama Desk nominations); Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, The Tempest. Recent productions include: The Skin of Our Teeth, TFANA; The Invisible Hand (Henry Hewes Design Award); Red Speedo (Drama Desk Nomination); Grounded (directed by Julie Taymor). International: Théâtre du Châtelet, Avignon (Cour d’honneur Palais des Papes); Oslo, National Theatre; Abbey Theatre. Recipient, Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Design. Hernandez is on the faculty at Yale School of Drama.

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Costume Design

Ann Hould-Ward

Costume Design

Ann Hould-Ward

Costume Designer

A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy, Second Stage, “PBS Great Performances.” Broadway (selected credits): The Color Purple; The Visit; The People in the Picture; A Free Man of Color (Drama Desk nomination); A Catered Affair (Drama Desk nomination); Company (2006 revival); Beauty and the Beast (Tony Award); Into the Woods (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); Falsettos; Sunday in the Park with George (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); Saint Joan; Timon of Athens; Little Me. Off- Broadway: Passion, Classic Stage Company; Russian Transport; The Blue Flower; Road Show; Lobster Alice; Cymbeline. Ms. Hould-Ward’s work can be seen in over 35 International companies of Beauty and the Beast, and at The Salzburg Festival’s West Side Story, The Bronze Idol (Mikhailovsky Theatre), Dear World (West End), Schuh Des Mantu (Germany), Othello (Norwegian Ballet), and Imagine This (West End).

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Lighting Design

Howell Binkley

Lighting Design

Howell Binkley

A.R.T.: Debut. Broadway (selected credits): Hamilton (Tony Award, Henry Hewes Design Award), After Midnight (Tony nomination), How to Succeed... (with Daniel Radcliffe, Tony nomination), West Side Story (Tony nomination), Gypsy (with Patti LuPone), In The Heights (Tony nomination), Jersey Boys (Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Henry Hewes Design Award), Avenue Q, The Full Monty, Parade, Kiss Of The Spider Woman (Tony nomination, Olivier Award, Dora Award). Regional and Dance (selected credits): Billboards, The Joffrey Ballet; Co-Founder and Resident Lighting Designer for Parsons Dance. 2006 Henry Hewes Design Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Jersey Boys.

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Sound Design

Dan Moses Schreier

Sound Design

Dan Moses Schreier

A.R.T.: Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Broadway: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Act One, Sondheim on Sondheim, A Little Night Music, Gypsy (Patti LuPone), Radio Golf, John Doyle’s production of Sweeney Todd, A Catered Affair, Gem Of the Ocean, Pacific Overtures, Assassins, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Julius Caesar (Denzel Washington), Into The Woods, Topdog/Underdog, Dirty Blonde,The Tempest (Patrick Stewart), Bring in ‘da Noise/Funk. Off Broadway: Passion, Road Show, Floyd Collins, others. Recent scores: King Lear (John Lithgow); Merchant of Venice (Al Pacino); Disfarmer, St. Ann’s Warehouse. Awards: 4 Tony Award nominations, 3 Drama Desk Awards, OBIE Award for sustained excellence, 2013 Dreyfus Fellow at The MacDowell Colony.

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Projection Design

Elaine McCarthy

Projection Design

Elaine McCarthy

A.R.T.: Gloria: A Life, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education. Ms. McCarthy’s background in photography, film, and architecture has led to a twenty-five-year, worldwide career as an award-winning projection designer for live performance, including theater, dance, concerts, and opera. Career highlights include: Broadway: Wicked, Spamalot, Assassins, Into the Woods, Thurgood. Off-Broadway: Notes from the Field, Frequency Hopping (Scenic and Projection Design), Distracted (Scenic and Projection Design), Embedded. Opera: Iolanta, Everest, Tristan und Isolde, Moby Dick, Cold Mountain, Mazeppa, Dead Man Walking, War and Peace. The 2018-19 theater season had her working on three new Off-Broadway collaborations, all focusing on the lives of women.

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Dialect Coach

Amy Stoller

Dialect Coach

Amy Stoller

A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy, Second Stage, National Tour, “PBS Great Performances.” Also with Anna Deavere Smith: Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, Berkeley Rep; Master Class,” HBO. Broadway: Beautiful (coach for Jessie Mueller as Carole King, Tony Award). Off-Broadway: 20th anniversary, resident dialect designer, Mint Theater Company, currently A Day by the Sea. Film/TV: Selma (coach for Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, NAACP Image Award); “Mozart in the Jungle” “Nurse Jackie”; “Power.” stollersystem.com

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Movement coach

Michael Leon Thomas

Movement coach

Michael Leon Thomas

Movement Coach

A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy, Second Stage, National Tour, “PBS Great Performances.” Also with Anna Deavere Smith: On Grace, Grace Cathedral San Francisco; “A Hymn for Alvin Ailey,” PBS/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Choreography credits include: University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Cape Town Dance Company, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Long Island University, Encuentro Internacional de Danza Madrid, Beijing Dance Academy, Danceworx Mumbai. Teaching: NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Complexions Contemporary Ballet (dance intensives program director), Alvin Ailey Arts & Education Revelations Residencies, The Ailey School, Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary NYC program, LIU Post, dance festivals and schools both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Dramaturg

Alisa Solomon

Dramaturg

Alisa Solomon

Dramaturg
A.R.T.: Let Me Down Easy. Alisa teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the MA concentration in Arts & Culture. A longtime theater critic and political journalist, she has written for The Nation, The New York Times, Howlround.com, The Forward, American Theatre, among other publications, and The Village Voice, where she was a staff writer for two decades. Her books include Re-Dressing the Canon: Essays on Theater and Gender, and most recently, Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof. Education: DFA, Dramaturgy and Criticism, Yale.

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Production Stage Manager

Taylor Brennan

Production Stage Manager

Taylor Brennan

A.R.T.: Stage Manager: HEAR WORD!Burn All Night; Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education1984; O.P.C.The Shape She MakesThe Donkey Show. Assistant Stage Manager: Bedlam's Sense & SensibilityThe Night of the IguanaFingersmithRoosevElvisKansas City Choir BoyNatasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812The Heart of Robin HoodAll the WayThe Glass MenagerieThe Lily’s RevengeOnce. Production Associate: Prometheus BoundThe Blue FlowerCabaret. Education/Training: Graduate of Boston University (Summa cum laude) College of Fine Arts.

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Additional staff

Assistant Stage Manager

Andrea Jess Berkey

Assistant Stage Manager

Andrea Jess Berkey

Assistant Stage Manager

A.R.T.: Debut. Off-Broadway: O Earth; Maurice Hines’ Tappin Thru Life, Charles Francis Chan Jr’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery, Consent, The Last Starfighter, The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero, joy, Fame on 42nd Street, Potomac Theatre Project, Soho Rep, MCC, Cherry Lane, Manhattan Theatre Club. Festivals: NYMF, FringeNYC, NAMT, MITF. Regional: Flat Rock Playhouse, North Carolina Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville. Tours: Blue’s Clues Live!, TheatreworksUSA. Numerous BC/EFA events. Proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

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Associate Movement Coach

Michael Bentt

Associate Movement Coach

Michael Bentt

Associate Movement Coach

A.R.T.: Debut. Michael Bentt is a boxer, writer, producer, actor, and director. Boxing decorations include: WBO world heavyweight champion (1993), 4 New
York Golden Gloves titles, 5 U.S. national championships, Sugar Ray Robinson Award, Pan American Games (boxing team captain), North American Championship gold medal, U.S. Goodwill Games (boxing team captain). Film/TV (selected credits): Ali (with Will Smith), Public Enemies (with Johnny Depp), State Property 2, Million Dollar Baby, Blue, Girlfight, "Saturday Night Live," "JAG," "Sons of Anarchy," "Firefly," Kid Shamrock (director), Broken (director), work with directors Michael Mann, Ron Shelton, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Bill L. Norton. Boxing writing/ commentating (selected credits): HBO.com, "Bert Sugar's Fight Game," ESPN, BBC. He has also mentored, served as a guest speaker, and conducted seminars for juvenile facilities across the country and co-instructed acting workshops with Anna Deveare Smith. Training: Northampton Community College (journalism and acting), Tina Sattin NYC.

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Assistant Director

Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence

Assistant Director

Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence

A.R.T.: Finding Neverland (Production Intern). Harvard: Black Magic on the Loeb Mainstage (Director, Co-writer); I, Too, Am Harvard (Director, Writer); Dreamgirls (Assistant Choreographer); Creator of I, Too, Am Harvard photo campaign; Co-founder of Renegade (POC art collective and magazine); member of Kuumba Singers of Harvard College; BlackC.A.S.T. In Development: Ragtime on Ellis Island (Dramaturg). Named one of The Root 2016 Young Futurists, Business Insider "19 Incredibly Impressive Students at Harvard." B.A. Harvard ’16.

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Artistic Associate/The Pipeline Project

Kimber Riddle

Director of Interviewee Relations/Onstage Assistant

Daniel Rattner

Associate Costume Design

Christoper Vergara

Associate Lighting Design

Catherine Clark

Associate Sound Design

Joshua Reid

Assistant Sound Design

Peter Gangi

Assistant Projection Design

Maxwell Bowman

Projection Programmer

Paul Vershbow

Special Assistant to Anna Deavere Smith

David Lockard

Text Coordinator

Zoë Norman-Hunt

Act II Staff

Act II Manager Kayhan Irani

Pipeline Staff Team Leader/Act II Facilitator Manager Stephanie Schneider

Act II Facilitator Trainer Lizzy Cooper Davis

Act II Facilitator Manager Pablo Hernandez Basulto

Conversation Hosts For a complete list of Act II Conversation Hosts and their bios, click here

Other Food for Act II contributed in part by Curate Snacks and by Whole Foods Market – Fresh Pond.